Neighborhood news

I like my new ‘hood.

But today I sorta missed pulling out of the old one, wondering what sort of spiritual wisdom I’d see on the church sign across the way. Always I will remember the morning the sign simply read “sweaty balls.” Man, that was such a good day.

You can tell the sort of neighborhood you live in by what’s locked up. Here in Highland Park, if you value your HVAC, you’ll chain it or cage it or, like Daniel, build a fence around the unit.  All the church signs have covers bolted down tightly.  The Dollar General on Willow is covered in metal bars.  The BiLo on 23rd puts security tags on deodorant.  Really!?  The Big Lots around the corner from our old house locked away the razor blades.  I wonder what that says about the neighborhood there.

We lived in HP in 2004 (this had a lot to do with our attempted escape from Chattanooga)–two doors down from our house now.  On my last day there I was packing up a few things when a pickup pulled in front of our neighbors’ house.  Two guys got out; one went to the front door and knocked, another went around to the back.  When they determined no one was home, they began hitching my neighbor’s station wagon to the back of the truck.  I kid you not.  Fortunately, our neighbor works at the university across the street, and I was able to track him down and the car was rescued.  We were stupid, scared kids then.  I don’t know what we are now, but it’s not that.

The neighborhood has distinct borders: Willow to Holtzclaw, McCallie to Main.  We’re right along the southern border.  There’s a lot of neighborhood pride.  There also seem to be unspoken rules in the neighborhood.  We are outsiders in every way.  But people are people, and hopefully we’ll get to know our neighbors on friendly terms.  There’s a neighborhood association, but I don’t know what that means, and I’m not much of a joiner.

The neighborhood we left felt so different than this one.  Maybe it’s because there wasn’t an association.  Certainly the demographic was different . . . waaaayyy different.  Maybe it is best summarized by something that happened right before we moved: one neighbor built an 8 ft. fence directly in front of his house, a rather monumental statement to his across-the-street neighbor.  That’s right, it doesn’t fence anything in or out, it’s just a wooden wall.  Classy, no?

a fairly permanent bitch-slap

There’s something to be said about the difference between building fences and burning bridges, but I won’t say it just now.  Those scared kids in 2004 would’ve built fences like this, and did in some cases.  I saw my heart tonight like it was a big juicy tomato.  I saw it skinned and carved, the wedges unfolding, red ripeness exposed.  My heart holds no secrets.  My heart needs openness.  My heart wants hope and redemption.

Yeah.  And now I’m going to go claim that sleep I’ve been missing.  The watchful moon shining light into darkness.

  1. Oh so lovely to read your words, Rachel. I have to admit I giggled at the bitch slap comment. They lock up the Oil of Olay at the local Wal-Marts here. And I had to ask for help to get a razor (not for safety reasons, just for this-costs-more-than-$2.97 reasons). What a world!!

    • alltheseblessedthings said:

      Oil of Olay…very interesting.

  2. Jess said:

    I noticed while moving in that our HVAC is also locked up.
    We’re also outsiders here, but I’m learning that a lot of cool people live in this neighborhood – like you!

    • alltheseblessedthings said:

      It’s a fun little world…like your garbage incident. When we lived here before the brakes on my bike went out. Rather than fix them, for fun, we left the bike in the front yard to see how long it would take to disappear. (Longer than I thought, but I’m chalking that up to the fence around the yard.)

  3. Scott said:

    Good post Rachel.
    Strangely enough, if you have a prop you are able to carve out a conversation. I say carve because it took about 30 miles of walking my dog around the same route before the neighbors started talking to me. But like a squeaky wheel, eventually…
    I like my neighborhood. I like how my neighbor shielded my dog from getting a contact high last time we talked. Seriously it was very classy of him.
    And the time I was starring at the tree my other neighbor decided to dump in my yard and some kids offered me a push pop. I asked him why he was offering me this and he said “because it’s hot and you look like you need a popsicle (spelling). True story.

    • alltheseblessedthings said:

      Oh, I laughed so hard about the contact high. How thoughtful. And, I would normally ask you to clarify what you mean by “dump in my yard” but I’m terrified what you’ll say. Yeah, we’re looking forward to cooler weather to be out more and get to meet people…it’s a good neighborhood for that.

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